At its inaugural meeting yesterday, the School of Management’s newly formed board of advisors convened to discuss what they perceive to be the most pressing issues that will face the school in coming years.
The day-long meeting emphasized the strong connections between the SOM and other parts of Yale, SOM Dean Jeffrey Garten said. He said the 30 board members in attendance discussed each person’s role and began addressing plans for fundraising, creating new facilities and possibly expanding the school.
“This can be a very powerful and energetic board, and it’s exactly what the School of Management needs at this point in its history,” Garten said.
Garten created the advisory board last month. It includes approximately 40 members, most of whom are SOM graduates and executives in a variety of sectors. Nearly all of them hold some type of Yale degree.
Several faculty members and 30 SOM students also attended the meeting. Garten said the SOM’s administration wants to encourage close communication between the council, professors and students.
“I think the board’s role will be to be there as a resource and a sounding board for Jeffrey Garten and his faculty,” SOM board of advisors chairman and Yale Corporation member Linda Mason SOM ’80 said after the meeting. She said the board will also help foster communication with alumni and provide financial support for the school.
Yale President Richard Levin began the meeting by delivering remarks about Yale’s commitment to the SOM.
“I think his central point was that if you look around the world, [you will see] business is driving a lot of change,” Garten said. “It’s very important that Yale has a great business school.”
After Levin’s speech, the board addressed issues including the school’s facilities and potential for growth, Garten said. He said these topics have already generated controversy although any plans surrounding them are only in the preliminary stages.
The possibility of increasing the school’s size in the next five to 10 years has sparked debate among faculty. Garten said some professors want the school to remain small, while others want to see it become much larger.
Faculty and students have complained in recent years that the SOM’s facilities are cramped, especially in terms of common areas and faculty offices. Garten said some board members believe the school should tear down its current buildings and construct new ones, while others want the SOM to move to a location with more space.
“I don’t have a position [on this issue] right now,” he said. “I see my role as trying to develop a consensus. This is a decision that will ultimately be made by the Yale Corporation and our faculty.”
Mason said the SOM needs to continue working to raise its profile.
“[We are] still not as broadly known as Harvard Business School and Stanford Business School, so we still have a lot of work to do,” Mason said.
The board is scheduled to meet twice yearly, and individual meetings between board members and SOM administrators are planned for coming months.